1995 Game Recap: Five Homers lift Tribe to Delayed Opening Day Win—Indians 11, Rangers 6
Steve Eby | On 27, Apr 2015
Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back April 27, 1995.
After 259 long days, baseball is finally back and the Cleveland Indians are undefeated.
With the first game of the Indians’ highly-anticipated 1995 season in the books, the Tribe (1-0) used their awesome power to back the solid pitching of Dennis Martinez (1-0, 1.50) as they defeated the Texas Rangers (0-2) 11-6 at the Ballpark in Arlington.
The players, fresh off of the labor strike, were received with loud boos from a disappointing 32,161 Texas fans for their home opener in the Rangers second game of the season. The Rangers had also dropped their first game on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium as the quirky, strike-shortened schedule had Texas open with a one game series on the road.
What was less disappointing was the Indians offense, who throttled the Rangers new free agent starter Kevin Gross with five homeruns and four base hits from 1994 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Manny Ramirez. The onslaught started in the top of the second inning and then got out of hand in the third.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the second frame, Albert Belle reached on a leadoff single and was eventually sent to second on a Gross wild pitch. With two outs, Ramirez slapped a single up the middle to plate Belle and then came around to score himself when Paul Sorrento slammed the Indians first homerun of the season, 409 feet down the right field line. The 3-1 lead turned mammoth an inning later.
Back-to-back singles from Omar Vizquel and Carlos Baerga were followed up by back-to-back homeruns by Belle and the ageless Eddie Murray. An RBI double from Ramirez gave the Tribe their eighth run and then a sacrifice fly from Kenny Lofton pushed the score to 9-1.
The score remained until the bottom of the fourth, when former Giant Will Clark socked a solo homerun off of Martinez to make it 9-2. The Indians got the run back immediately, however, as Ramirez clobbered a ball from reliever Wilson Heredia deep over the left field fence to make the score 10-2. With an eight run lead in the season’s first game, Martinez was pulled in favor of waiver-claimed reliever Dennis Cook, who also pitched with the Tribe from 1992-93.
Cook’s evening did not go as planned in any respect, as the lefty was hit hard and eventually ejected from the ballgame. Cook allowed two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a two-RBI single from former Indian Otis Nixon and then allowed a controversial two-run homer to outfielder Rusty Greer in the bottom of the eighth that cut the lead to 10-6. Both Cook and Manager Mike Hargrove argued that the ball had hooked foul and Cook was ejected by replacement umpire Darrel Mason.
Eric Plunk relieved and kept the Rangers in check for the remainder of the game and Baerga was able to add a long homerun in the top of the ninth to give the Tribe its 11-6 victory.
The Indians will send Mark Clark (11-3, 3.82*) to the hill on Friday night to face the Rangers in the Tribe’s second game of the season. Texas will counter with Roger Pavlik (2-5, 7.69*) who struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness during the 1994 season after having a breakout season in ’93. The game is scheduled to start at 8:05 Eastern Time and can be seen locally on SportsChannel or listened to on WKNR 1220 for the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
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